CHRISTIANSBURG – Village residents will be able to see Christiansburg’s new sewer treatment plant Sunday during an open house event.
The event will take place at the plant, 5526 Addison New Carlisle Road, between 1 and 4 p.m. and residents will have an opportunity to speak with project engineers about the system.
Village council member Charles Lyons said the village’s attempt to have a centralized sewage system started more than 30 years ago when Christiansburg started a similar project. This project was abandoned and left the village in a fiscal emergency.
In the years that followed, Lyons said a lack of financing was a factor in holding up the development of a project. The new project was sparked following findings from a state government agency.
A few years ago, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was performing tests at west fork of Honey Creek. Test results found a high-level of bacteria in the creek leading to the need for a sewage system.
After years of development, Lyons said the project is expected to be completed this month.
“The plant is complete, the lines are in and it’s just a matter of finishing up the hookups and I think there are probably less than 10 homes to be hooked up,” Lyons said Thursday.
Prior to the new project, village residents would have a septic tank and leach field.
Lyons said normally sewage is put in a pipe which travels to a treatment plant. With the new system, each home still has a septic tank and the liquid is pumped off and sent to the treatment plant.
“It’s a combination system of a septic tank and taking the liquid and then it’s treated and discharged,” Lyons said. “This was only the second one in the state of Ohio. The town of Amesville near Athens has this same type of system.”
During the project’s development, a new septic tank had to be installed in every resident’s yard in addition to a control panel that was placed on every residence. As the tanks were put in resident’s yards, the house would become part of the system.
Lyons said these items were installed at no additional cost to residents initially before residents started to be billed for sewer services at $30 per month. This price increased in September to $60 per month.
“It’s a big deal in these little towns,” Lyons said about the addition of a monthly bill. “For one thing you don’t have any number of users to spread it over. We have 550 residents, around 240 connections – that’s not very many to spread millions of dollars over.”
The project was initially expected to cost $4.7 million and Lyons estimated the final cost will be between $4.5 and $5 million. Funding for the project has been supported through grants in the amounts and loans.
“We met with the EPA people and they were saying they could help with some of the financing and through them we ended up with a 50 percent interest free loan and 50 percent principal forgiveness, which that part you don’t even have to pay back,” Lyons said. “Then we got a $500,000 and $600,000 grants on top of that so roughly three fourths of this we don’t have to pay back.”
Summarizing village resident’s opinion on the project, Lyons said the reaction has been wide ranging. He said more people wanted to move forward with the project than the village expected but some residents were not in favor of the project.
“None of us had ever been part of spending almost $5 million or anywhere near it,” Lyons said. “That was a big deal and responsibility and also weighed heavy on everybody about people that have a hard time paying stuff that you’re saddling on with another bill. There was people that were talking about ‘hey I might not be able to handle this’ but basically it just had to be done.”
Lyons said Sunday’s event will be an opportunity for residents to see what they are paying for.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.